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CNN analyst wondered whether riot preparations meant officials got 'heads-up' about Chauvin verdict

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CNN senior legal analyst Laura Coates suggested shortly before former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder in the death of George Floyd Tuesday that boarding up businesses in urban centers seems to be a “Pavlovian response” to impending verdicts in high-profile cases.

Coates, a former Justice Department attorney in the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, claimed that those preparations was emblematic of a “trust gap” between local residents and the criminal justice system.

“[The gap] expands exponentially, because in their minds, they say, ‘You’re preparing me for an acquittal,'” she said. “‘You are telling me if it’s boarded up, you anticipate my unrest, my wrath. You anticipate the devolution of a protest into looting and other things.’

“What you’re seeing in terms of what you’re speaking about, Van [Jones], is that Pavlovian reflex and response, saying, ‘what does this mean if you’re calling out the National Guard.”

Coates then wondered aloud whether Minnesota Gov. Timothy Walz, President Joe Biden or Judge Peter Cahill had a hint as to what verdict the Chauvin jury was about to reach.

“People believe: Did you get a heads-up, governor? Did you get a heads-up, Mr. President? Did you get a heads-up, judge? Do you know something that we do not know?”

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Coates, who hails from nearby St. Paul, added that in the 2016 case of St. Anthony, Minn., Officer Jeronimo Yanez, who shot and killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop, the state of Minnesota has a “recent memory of what second-degree murder charges look like”. Yanez was ultimately acquitted, but fired by the police department.

Earlier, Coates was joined by former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, who appeared to suggest violence would be a fait accompli in many cities if Chauvin was acquitted.

Ramsey, who also led the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, said police chiefs around the country would heave “a collective sigh of relief” if Chauvin was found guilty.

“I have spoken to a lot of them and believe me, everyone is holding their breath on this one, because you know what would happen should there be an acquittal — or even if there’s, you know, one out of the three counts [as] a conviction,” he said.

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“But the police have to be vigilant all night, because regardless of what the outcome is, they’re going to have to be vigilant because you’ve seen even celebrations turn bad … But there’s going to be a sigh of relief if this is a conviction, no question about it,” Ramsey added.

“What Derek Chauvin did was so far out of training, out of policy. I mean, he brought discredit upon an entire profession. Everybody in this profession were impacted by this, and that’s why if there is a conviction, people will be relieved.”

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